Braves’ John Hart: “I never made any false promises we were built to win this year”
Braves President of Baseball Operations John Hart gave a particularly candid interview to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Especially in this day and age when GMs are partial to businesspeak that borders on cloudspeak.Among the highlights was his response to a question that followed up on Hart talking about his expectations heading into the season:
Q: So it’s not as if you expected a better record.
A: I’ve never made any false promises that we were built to win this year. We felt we had an energy and a good makeup. But you don’t trade your closer opening day, trade for draft picks, trade middle-of-the-order bats and expect to win. I won’t lie to fans.
He is also pretty candid in saying how surprised he was that the Padres were willing to take Melvin Upton’s contract in the Craig Kimbrel trade:
Q: But was your only chance to get rid of B.J. Upton’s contract.
A: That was obviously the intent. We had 10 calls on Kimbrel in the winter, but we just hung up because they wouldn’t take an off-load. San Diego was one of the clubs that came up early.
Q: Did it shock you when they said they would take Upton?
A: Yeah, it did. They put all of their chips in.
Q: Like the Braves two years ago. It didn’t work for them, either.
A: Yeah, I know.
He’s also straight-forward in (a) calling out catcher Christian Bethancourt, who was supposed to be a big part of this year but who struggled and then got sent down, as unprepared and not evidently committed, thus resulting in his demotion; and (b) praising Fredi Gonzalez. Though, notably, he does not say whether or not Gonzalez, who is in his last year under contract, will be back in 2016.
I take issue with many of the things the Braves did this past offseason -- particularly signing Nick Markakis, which Hart does not address here -- but you have to hand it to Hart for giving straight-forward answers to questions most GMs would duck, dodge and spin.